Keep it clean and well-oiled
The dividend from looking after your car well was spelled out for me by a taxi-driver on a very blustery Friday night. He was driving a 2005 Toyota Camry which was immaculate inside and out with lots of veneered wood and leather. He proudly told me that the big saloon, which Toyota no longer sells over here, had done 320,000 miles and never given him a moment's trouble. He put it down to an oil and filter change at least 11 times a year. Fuel consumption for the big petrol engine was great and the car sounded sweet.
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Later that night I was walking Sam the dog through Phibsborough in Dublin along our normal route.
For the last few weeks there has been an old Ford Focus Estate parked on Cabra Road, just before Charleville Avenue, advertised for sale. It doesn't have any number plates, nor valid tax disc or NCT certificate. It takes up space on a very busy road. Garda cars by the score pass it every day. Surely it is not too much for one of them to stop, give the vendor a call and tell them to move it or scrap it.
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The fall-out from the emissions scandal is really beginning to hit Volkswagen in some major markets. There is some anecdotal evidence that it will here too, in the New Year, but perhaps not as much as in Britain where sales have plunged by a fifth last month against last year.
The decline in UK has also spread to other VW brands like Seat, Skoda and Audi. Ford and Vauxhall (Opel here) the UK's biggest marques have gained considerably.
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Volvo seems to be going from strength to strength recently. The company posted a 26pc increase in retail sales for the month of November, selling 49,055 cars globally, which represents a new all-time high result for a single month.
In the medium term, Volvo Cars is targeting annual sales of 800,000 globally following a complete renewal of its product line-up in the next four years.
The global success for the Volvo XC90 is paving the way for the all-new Volvo S90 premium saloon - the second car to be based on Volvo's in-house developed SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) technology. The Volvo S90 was unveiled at an event in Gothenburg on Wednesday.